Monday, October 29, 2007

Sotheary and James' Wedding. San Jose

Ceremony at the home of Sotheary's parents and reception at Phu Lam Restaurant both in San Jose.

I usually try to have images blogged a few days after the event but I have been swamped so sorry these are later than usual!

Sotheary and James' traditional Cambodian wedding ceremony was a multi day affair filled with music and song, chanting, dancing, offerings, prayers, clothing changes, and rituals too numerous to list here. It was an incredible experience which ended with a HUGE Saturday night reception. I mean 500 people huge! If you are inclined, I found a website that describes the typical ceremonial events here.

We started on Friday as James and several musicians led a parade of family members to the bride's home with gifts and offerings. Before going inside, there was some choreographed banter between family representatives. Once inside, gifts were presented for everyone to see and included liquor, soft drinks, all sorts of food and fruit, and a large roasted pig. Among the memorable events were all the clothing changes, chanting monks, and a ceremonial hair cutting and cleansing. Everything started up again bright and early on Saturday morning as married couples encircled the bride and groom and passed lit candles around the circle as a blessing. Next family and close friends were invited to tie red string on the wrists of the bride and groom. As strings were tied rose petals and palm flowers were *sprinkled* on the couple. I learned later that this was actually a somewhat abbreviated and compressed version of the marriage rite.

Saturday afternoon, after some lunch and latte's, we regrouped at the Hotel Montgomery in San Jose. Sotheary, James, and the rest of their wedding party changed into western (as opposed to traditional Cambodian) clothing and we had a fun photo session in and around Plaza de Cesar Chavez Park. The night ended at Phu Lam with a large banquet, a Cambodian live band, and Cambodian dancing which involved everyone gathering on the dance floor and circling in unison with a certain hand gesture which I still cannot seem to master.


Anonymous said...


Elise said...

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